Oregon Post-MortemPosted by Connor Pelton on April 23rd, 2013
Now that we are officially in the offseason, it’s time to take a look back and evaluate each team’s 2012-13 performance. Next on our list: Oregon.
What Went Right
Considering most Oregon fans hadn’t even heard of former Rice standout Arsalan Kazemi until less than a month before Midnight Madness, the last-minute addition of the Iranian Sensation did wonders for the Ducks’ play in 2012-13. The team clicked well with Kazemi on board as he added the final piece to an almost-complete puzzle. His hustle and ability to grab seemingly every loose ball on the court made him a quick fan favorite.
What Went Wrong
Unspecified left foot injuries. Star point guard Dominic Artis went down with one before Oregon’s January 26 game against Washington, transforming thet Ducks from a 17-2 team to one struggling to find an identity upon his return on the final day of February. When all was said and done, however, Oregon ended up advancing to the Sweet Sixteen regardless of its lower seed, a product of the development of the team during his injury. Still, it would have been interesting to see how the Ducks performed in the dance if Artis had played all year long and Oregon was given a higher seed.
For what Kazemi lacked in clutch scoring, senior forward E.J. Singler made up for it. He was pivotal down the stretch in overtime at Washington State, leading the Ducks with 25 points, and his 14-point performance to hand Arizona its first loss of the season was gritty and much-needed.
Singler and Kazemi graduate, as do Carlos Emory and Tony Woods, every one of which had a solid final season in Eugene. Freshmen guard Willie Moore is the lone transfer, departing the program after playing just 6.9 MPG in his initial year. The four seniors all played huge roles and will be a challenge to replace, at least early in the 2013-14 season.
Players Coming In
The good news for head coach Dana Altman is that he’s got reinforcements arriving. Four-star ESPN100 power forward Jordan Bell can step in immediately and fill the absence left by Emory. Another freshmen, Sprague High School (OR) product A.J. Lapray, is a bit more of a project but is versatile enough to play either the three, four, or five. A pair of twin shooting guards in Tyree and Tyrell Robinson gives Altman more then enough depth to play around with. Players like Cristiano Felicio, Jalil Abdul-Bassit, and Elgin Cook will all don Ducks uniforms next season but likely won’t see any substantial action, if any at all.
Reason for Hope
The combination of Artis and Bell looks quite lethal, especially if the twins are able to produce early on at the two to provide balance within the offense. Altman is a terrific coach and there’s no doubt that he can get the freshmen ready to go. Right now, as things often are in April, there is great potential in Eugene. And with potential comes hope, but make no mistake, if this crop of freshmen doesn’t produce like the 2012-13 version, it’s going to be very tough for the Ducks to make another Sweet Sixteen run.
Reason For Concern
Altman will get the newcomers to produce. But it could take some time, and if Oregon’s early-season slate is difficult, there will be some bumps in the road as they look to find replacements for Singler and Emory. The backcourt is fairly strong and will be able to carry the youthful frontcourt for a while, but it’ll be mighty tough for the Ducks to return to the heights gained last season with virtual unknowns at the three, four, and five.
A. Expectations weren’t great for this team, and the Ducks surpassed what was there with flying colors. A second place Pac-12 regular season finish? A conference tournament championship? Unbelievable for a team that was picked seventh by the media back in October.